1. Not Emphasizing The Basics.
Fastpitch softball is full of highly technical movements and rule-based processes. It's a difficult sport to learn, especially for younger players.
As a coach, your job is to make sure your players are on the same page as you. A good way to do this is by scheduling scrimmages at practices. You could sit down with your players and discuss the rules, but they will retain the information much more if they learn by competing it controlled environments at game speed.
Use mistakes made during scrimmages as teaching moments. You could also set up specific situations for your players to handle. Runners on first and second, one out, the ball comes to you - what do you do?
A fastpitch softball game is simply a series of situations like these. Good players - and good teams - know exactly what to do every single play. A good coach will ensure their players are ready to handle anything.
By emphasizing the basics, you also demonstrate that learning and improvement are more important than winning.
2. Not Admitting Your Mistakes To Your Players.
Coaches are supposed to point out players' errors to guide them and strengthen their skills. As a coach, you should admit your blunders as well.
If you made the wrong call during a game, or gave your player mistaken advice based on confusion about a rule, own up to it.
Not only will your players see that it's perfectly acceptable to be wrong, but it will also build their trust within the player-coach relationship.
If you're not honest with them, they won't be motivated to work hard. This will bring down the morale and performance of the whole team.
3. Not Seeing The Whole Field.
A good coach doesn't focus solely on the action near the ball. A good coach develops and refines perspectives, then teaches those softball instincts to their players.
When you see a defensive player that's asking themselves on every pitch, "What should I do if the ball gets hit to me?", you're seeing a player that's been taught how to "see the whole field" .
A good coach should do likewise - for every player. This might seem daunting but it's actually intuitive.
Do a quick scan of the field between every pitch; confirm everyone is standing where they should be and that those with potential plays are alert and aware.
The same goes for the middle of a play. You have the advantage of seeing the whole field whereas your team does not.
They might be too close to the action. You can catch details they don't see and remind them of what they're supposed to do for a certain play.
Seeing the whole field is a good metaphor for how to approach coaching youth softball. Never stay fixated on just one or two technical things, and don't prioritize winning so much that it overworks your players.
Keep in mind their overall development and what they take away from their fastpitch softball experience. Then, it will be instructive and fulfilling for both them and you.
We hope you enjoyed these top 3 fastpitch softball coaching mistakes.
Here's what you can do next. Check out our previous article: 6 Tips For Softball Parents.
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